Individuals age 60 years and older represent the fastest growing segment of San Diego County’s population, with the number of residents expected to more than double by 2030. The lack of easy, accessible, and affordable transportation available to older adults is a problem recognized at the national, state, and local levels. In a 2003 San Diego County survey, close to 30% of older adults age 85 and older said that transportation was a problem for them.
“Compared with those who still drive, older non-drivers make 15% fewer trips to the doctor, 59% fewer shopping trips and visits to restaurants, and 65% fewer trips for social, family, and religious activities.” -American Public Transportation Association
On the Go's 150,000th Ride!
left to right: Brenda Bothel, Divisional Director of Aging &
Wellness Services, rider Sandra Schneider, volunteer driver Bob Metz,
and Meredith Morgenroth, Director of Transportatior for On the Go)
On the Go celebrated a HUGE milestone on April 24, 2013 – our 150,000th ride! Rider Sandra Schneider received the record ride from Robert “Bob” Metz, a consumer video industry pioneer and an active member of Congregation Beth Israel. Along with his wife, Judy, Bob has been a volunteer driver since 2011. Together, they have provided more than 200 rides. “Being a senior myself, I can often empathize with many of my riders,” said Bob. “I feel gratified that I am able to assist them and be part of the On the Go program. I applaud the efforts of JFS. Drivers and riders all benefit from their caring and tireless labors.”
On the Go has helped Sandra by providing rides to her medical appointments utilizing volunteer drivers as part of the Rides & Smiles® service component. “On the Go is a wonderful program for senior citizens,” said Sandra. “You’re not just a number, you’re a person. And the drivers are all friendly and just marvelous. They’re so loving and comforting. They truly care about you.”
Councilmember Marti Emerald, an ardent supporter of On the Go and the College Avenue Center, was in attendance to present a City of San Diego Proclamation in honor of the event.
Since On the Go began in July 2008, nearly 2,000 people have enrolled in the service, giving them independence, community connection, mobility, and dignity. Congratulations to the On the Go team on this great accomplishment – what an amazing "ride" we are all on!
left to right: Bob, Sandra, and Councilmember Marti Emerald)
A community program operated by Jewish Family Service and funded by the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Jewish Community Foundation, and other community donors, On the Go is more than a ride—it’s independence, community connection, mobility, and dignity.
On the Go consists of four components:
On the Go Excursions – Exciting, organized outings to locations throughout San Diego County and surrounding areas
On the Go Shuttles – Group transportation to JFS Social & Wellness Centers, religious events,
shopping centers, lunch destinations, and other cultural outings and
Rides & Smiles® – Volunteer drivers provide individual transportation to medical and personal appointments, synagogues, and the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center.
Taxi Scrip – For transportation requests that cannot be fulfilled with On the Go drivers/vehicles.
Participating Synagogues: Temple Adat Shalom, Chabad of College Area, Chabad of La Jolla Shores, Chabad of Poway, Chabad of Scripps Ranch, Chabad of University City, Congregation Beth El, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Dor Hadash, Ner Tamid Synagogue, Temple Emanu-El, Tifereth Israel Synagogue, Temple Solel, Congregation Beth Am, Ohr Shalom Synagogue
On the Go Excursions On the Go
offers group transportation to diverse activities from enjoying an
evening at the theater to cheering on the Padres. Have an idea for a
trip? Contact us—we’d love to hear from you! Fees range from $6 and up,
depending on the destination and admittance fees. Favorite trips
Social & Wellness Center Shuttle Transportation
to JFS Social & Wellness Centers is provided to individuals
residing in service areas. Door-to-door shuttles are $4 each way. Please
reserve your seat on a Shuttle a minimum of three (3) business days in
advance. For a list of days, hours, and activities, click on the links
Rides & Smiles® Since 2004, the award-winning Rides & Smiles® program has provided transportation for older adults to medical appointments, personal appointments, pharmacies, banks, and other life necessities.
"My car is sitting idle in the garage. It has 54,000 miles on it but when my license expired, the doctor would not sign the release to renew it. I can't drive it and with my daughter moving to Seattle I didn't know what to do. Luckily she found this program and I can't believe people are willing to take time out of their day to help me..."
Rides are provided by caring volunteers who donate their time to provide this valuable service and allow older adults to maintain their independence. It is the largest volunteer-based transportation service in San Diego County—providing more than 2,000 rides by more than 275 volunteer drivers each month.
Volunteer drivers provide door-thru-door service to:
Non-emergency medical appointments
Visiting friends and loved ones in hospitals
Social activities And much more…
Rides are provided for a donation depending on the distance of the ride. Rides must be reserved at least one week in advance. Requests made sufficiently in advance are more likely to be matched with a volunteer driver. Rides can be requested up to the end of the next calendar month.
Rides & Smiles® Volunteer Driver Can you imagine how it feels to need to go to the doctor for a life-saving treatment but not have a way to get there? What if you wanted to visit with friends but you were the only one who couldn’t make it because you didn’t have a ride?
Many older adults live with this loss of independence every day. Without transportation, simple things such as medical appointments, grocery shopping, or a lunch date become major life challenges. You can become a part of On the Go’s transportation solution by joining our Rides & Smiles® Volunteer Driver Program. Help older adults stay connected to our community. You can ease their feelings of isolation and loneliness by driving them to appointments, personal outings, and other daily activities.
Flexible hours – you choose who, when, and where you drive
May 8 • 3:00pm May 31 • 9:00am June 11 • 3:00pm June 28 • 9:00am July 12 • 9:00am July 30 • 3:00pm August 14 • 3:00pm
August 30 • 9:00am September 11 • 3:00pm September 24 • 9:00am October 11 • 9:00am October 30 • 3:00pm November 8 • 9:00am November 20 • 3:00pm
“I am just getting so much enjoyment out of doing Rides & Smiles®. Out of all the volunteering I have done over years this is by far one of the most rewarding. And I want to grow up just like all the ladies I have met. It has been a pleasure.” -Volunteer
The following video illustrates why On the Go is vital for seniors to remain independent and connected to their community. As you’ll see in the video, the program is rewarding for the volunteer drivers as well—they often tell us that they get more out of the program than the clients! On the Go is a community program and receives funding from many sources, including private donations by people just like you. Thank you for your support!
This On the Go video was originally created as a fundraising piece for Jewish Federation – National.
On the Go Shuttle Escort Ride-a-long with On the Go Shuttles to assist passengers while getting on and off the bus, shopping, reading labels, and providing friendly conversation. Start the application process today>>
Turn Your Car Into Rides – Donate Vehicle & Receive Ride Credits Donate your car to On the Go and receive credit for future rides on On the Go Shuttles and individual rides with Rides & Smiles®. Our Car Donation program will pick up your vehicle (running or not) and auction it. The money received, after the cost of the transaction (towing, auction house fees, processing fees), will be put in a special fund for you to be used for future rides. To start the donation process, click here and complete the brief form. If you have questions about this special program, contact the On the Go office at (619) 220-0268.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Older adults are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. There were 18.9 million older licensed drivers in 2000—a 36% increase from a decade earlier. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, it's estimated that by 2020 more than 40 million older Americans will be licensed drivers. Baby boomers rely heavily on automobiles for transportation and tend to drive more miles and at older ages than previous generations. It is important to remain safe drivers and/or find alternatives to driving when needed.
Are you concerned about a loved one's ability to drive? Take a ride with them. Look for the following warning signs in his or her driving:
Forgets to buckle up
Does not obey stop signs or traffic lights
Fails to yield the right of way
Drives too slowly or too quickly
Often gets lost, even on familiar routes
Stops at a green light or at the wrong time
Doesn’t seem to notice other cars, pedestrians, or bike riders on the road
Doesn’t stay in his or her lane
Is honked at or passed often
Reacts slowly to driving situations
Makes poor driving decisions
It is important to remember that On the Go is dedicated to providing independence, community connection, mobility, and dignity for all older adults. A loss of the ability to drive does not have to mean a loss of independence. For more information and support on how to talk to a loved one about driving, visit the AARP website by clicking here.
Back to Top>> Our Service Commitment On the Go: Transportation Solutions for Older Adults operates
its transportation service without regard to race, color, and national
origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. Any person
who believes they have been aggrieved by any unlawful discriminatory
practice under Title VI may file a complaint with the On the Go office manager at (619) 220-0268 or click here to complete a complaint form.